Illustration of the stages of tooth decay to full-blown cavity

What Causes Tooth Decay?

April 8, 2023 12:38 pm

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental issues that people face. If left untreated, decay can result in more serious problems, such as infection, tooth loss, gum disease, and jawbone deterioration.

Sugar is the main cause of tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth, called plaque, feasts upon your dietary sugar and produces harmful acids that erode your enamel by stripping it of minerals. If these weakened areas are not remineralized, they will become permanently damaged in the form of holes called cavities or dental caries.

Risk Factors for Tooth Decay

These factors can make you more likely to develop tooth decay:

  • High-sugar diet
  • Mineral deficiencies
  • Dry mouth as a side effect of certain medications
  • Poor oral hygiene & improper brushing technique
  • Not enough fluoride
  • Tobacco usage

Warning Signs of Cavities

It’s best to keep up with routine checkups at the dentist so they can examine your mouth for signs of dental disease, including tooth decay. But here are some changes you may notice at home:

  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Pain when biting down
  • Persistent toothache
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Brown tooth discoloration
  • Visible hole in a tooth

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

Take a preventive approach when it comes to cavities and other dental problems:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session
  • Floss daily
  • Consume a balanced, nutrient-filled diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Chew only sugar-free gum
  • Visit the dentist regularly for dental cleanings and exams
  • Avoid tobacco products

Restorative Treatment in Petaluma

At Alma Dental Care, our skilled team provides personalized oral hygiene recommendations and dental sealants for cavity prevention, as well as dental fillings and crowns to restore teeth compromised by cavities. If you think you may have a cavity or if you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, please contact our Petaluma dental office to schedule your next visit!

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